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1.  Ischemic Preconditioning Targets the Respiration of Synaptic Mitochondria via Protein Kinase Cε 
In the brain, ischemic preconditioning (IPC) diminishes mitochondrial dysfunction after ischemia and confers neuroprotection. Activation of ε protein kinase C (εPKC) has been proposed to be a key neuroprotective pathway during IPC. We tested the hypothesis that IPC increases the levels of εPKC in synaptosomes from rat hippocampus, resulting in improved synaptic mitochondrial respiration. Preconditioning significantly increased the level of hippocampal synaptosomal εPKC to 152% of sham-operated animals at 2 d of reperfusion, the time of peak neuroprotection. We tested the effect of εPKC activation on hippocampal synaptic mitochondrial respiration 2 d after preconditioning. Treatment with the specific εPKC activating peptide, tat-ψεRACK (tat-ψε-receptor for activated C kinase), increased the rate of oxygen consumption in the presence of substrates for complexes I, II, and IV to 157, 153, and 131% of control (tat peptide alone). In parallel, we found that εPKC activation in synaptosomes from preconditioned animals resulted in altered levels of phosphorylated mitochondrial respiratory chain proteins: increased serine and tyrosine phosphorylation of 18 kDa subunit of complex I, decreased serine phosphorylation of FeS protein in complex III, increased threonine phosphorylation of COX IV (cytochrome oxidase IV), increased mitochondrial membrane potential, and decreased H2O2 production. In brief, ischemic preconditioning promoted significant increases in the level of synaptosomal εPKC. Activation of εPKC increased synaptosomal mitochondrial respiration and phosphorylation of mitochondrial respiratory chain proteins. We propose that, at 48 h of reperfusion after ischemic preconditioning, εPKC is poised at synaptic mitochondria to respond to ischemia either by direct phosphorylation or activation of the εPKC signaling pathway.
doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5471-07.2008
PMCID: PMC2678917  PMID: 18417696
cerebral ischemia; phosphorylation; electron transport chain; neuroprotection; cell death; hippocampus
2.  δPKC inhibition or εPKC activation repairs endothelial vascular dysfunction by regulating eNOS post-translational modification 
The balance between endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)-derived nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production determines endothelial-mediated vascular homeostasis. Activation of protein kinase C (PKC) has been linked to imbalance of the eNOS/ROS system, which leads to endothelial dysfunction. We previously found that selective inhibition of delta PKC (δPKC) or selective activation of epsilon PKC (εPKC) reduces oxidative damage in the heart following myocardial infarction. In this study we determined the effect of these PKC isozymes in the survival of coronary endothelial cells (CVEC). We demonstrate here that serum deprivation of CVEC increased eNOS-mediated ROS levels, activated caspase-3, reduced Akt phosphorylation and cell number. Treatment with either the δPKC inhibitor, δV1-1, or the εPKC activator, ψεRACK, inhibited these effects, restoring cell survival through inhibition of eNOS activity. The decrease in eNOS activity coincided with specific de-phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser1179, and eNOS phosphorylation at Thr497 and Ser116. Furthermore, δV1-1 or ψεRACK induced physical association of eNOS with caveolin-1, an additional marker of eNOS inhibition, and restored Akt activation by inhibiting its nitration. Together our data demonstrate that 1) in endothelial dysfunction, ROS and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) formation result from uncontrolled eNOS activity mediated by activation of δPKC or inhibition of εPKC 2) inhibition of δPKC or activation of εePKC correct the perturbed phosphorylation state of eNOS, thus increasing cell survival. Since endothelial health ensures better tissue perfusion and oxygenation, treatment with a δPKC inhibitor and/or an εPKC activator in diseases of endothelial dysfunction should be considered.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2009.11.002
PMCID: PMC3760592  PMID: 19913548
3.  Activation of Protein Kinase C Delta following Cerebral Ischemia Leads to Release of Cytochrome C from the Mitochondria via Bad Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22057.
Background
The release of cytochrome c from the mitochondria following cerebral ischemia is a key event leading to cell death. The goal of the present study was to determine the mechanisms involved in post-ischemic activation of protein kinase c delta (δPKC) that lead to cytochrome c release.
Methods/Findings
We used a rat model of cardiac arrest as an in vivo model, and an in vitro analog, oxygen glucose deprivation (OGD) in rat hippocampal synaptosomes. Cardiac arrest triggered translocation of δPKC to the mitochondrial fraction at 1 h reperfusion. In synaptosomes, the peptide inhibitor of δPKC blocked OGD-induced translocation to the mitochondria. We tested two potential pathways by which δPKC activation could lead to cytochrome c release: phosphorylation of phospholipid scramblase-3 (PLSCR3) and/or protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A). Cardiac arrest increased levels of phosphorlyated PLSCR3; however, inhibition of δPKC translocation failed to affect the OGD-induced increase in PLSCR3 in synaptosomal mitochondria suggesting the post-ischemic phosphorylation of PLSCR3 is not mediated by δPKC. Inhibition of either δPKC or PP2A decreased cytochrome c release from synaptosomal mitochondria. Cardiac arrest results in the dephosphorylation of Bad and Bax, both downstream targets of PP2A promoting apoptosis. Inhibition of δPKC or PP2A prevented OGD-induced Bad, but not Bax, dephosphorylation. To complement these studies, we used proteomics to identify novel mitochondrial substrates of δPKC.
Conclusions
We conclude that δPKC initiates cytochrome c release via phosphorylation of PP2A and subsequent dephosphorylation of Bad and identified δPKC, PP2A and additional mitochondrial proteins as potential therapeutic targets for ischemic neuroprotection.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0022057
PMCID: PMC3137627  PMID: 21789211
4.  Differential Effects of Delta and Epsilon Protein Kinase C in Modulation of Postischemic Cerebral Blood Flow 
Cerebral ischemia causes cerebral blood flow (CBF) derangements resulting in neuronal damage by enhanced protein kinase C delta (δPKC) levels leading to hippocampal and cortical neuronal death after ischemia. Contrarily, activation of εPKC mediates ischemic tolerance by decreasing vascular tone providing neuroprotection. However, whether part of this protection is due to the role of differential isozymes of PKCs on CBF following cerebral ischemia remains poorly understood. Rats pretreated with a δPKC specific inhibitor (δV1-1, 0.5 mg/kg) exhibited attenuation of hyperemia and latent hypoperfusion characterized by vasoconstriction followed by vasodilation of microvessels after two-vessel occlusion plus hypotension. In an asphyxial cardiac arrest (ACA) model, rats treated with δ V1-1 (pre- and postischemia) exhibited improved perfusion after 24 h and less hippocampal CA1 and cortical neuronal death 7 days after ACA. On the contrary, εPKC-selective peptide activator, conferred neuroprotection in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus 30 min before induction of global cerebral ischemia and decreased regional CBF during the reperfusion phase. These opposing effects of δ v. εPKC suggest a possible therapeutic potential by modulating CBF preventing neuronal damage after cerebral ischemia.
doi:10.1007/978-1-4614-1566-4_10
PMCID: PMC4086166  PMID: 22259083
5.  Post-Ischemic Activation of Protein Kinase C Epsilon Protects the Hippocampus from Cerebral Ischemic Injury via Alterations in Cerebral Blood Flow 
Neuroscience letters  2010;487(2):158-162.
Protein Kinase C (PKC) is a family of serine/threonine-isozymes that are involved in many signaling events in normal and disease states. Previous studies from our lab have demonstrated that εPKC plays a pivotal role in neuroprotection induced by ischemic preconditioning. However, the role of εPKC during and after brain ischemia is not clearly defined. Therefore, in the present study, we tested the hypothesis that activation of εPKC during an ischemic event is neuroprotective. Furthermore, other studies have demonstrated that εPKC mediates cerebral ischemic tolerance in the rat brain by decreasing vascular tone. Thus, we also tested the effects of εPKC activation during ischemia on cerebral blood flow (CBF). We found that ψε-Receptors for activated C kinase (RACK), a εPKC-selective peptide activator, injected intravenously 30 minutes before induction of global cerebral ischemia conferred neuroprotection in the CA1 region of the rat hippocampus. Moreover, measurements of CBF before, during and after cerebral ischemia revealed a significant reduction in the reperfusion phase of rats pretreated with ψεRACK compared to Tat peptide (vehicle). Our results suggest that εPKC can protect the rat brain against ischemic damage by regulating CBF. Thus, εPKC may be one of the treatment modalities against ischemic injury.
doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2010.10.013
PMCID: PMC3004991  PMID: 20951185
Ischemia; epsilon Protein Kinase C; Cerebral Blood Flow; Neuroprotection
6.  εPKC phosphorylates the mitochondrial KATP+ channel during induction of ischemic preconditioning in the rat hippocampus 
Brain research  2007;1184:345-353.
Neuroprotection against cerebral ischemia conferred by ischemic preconditioning (IPC) requires translocation of epsilon protein kinase C (εPKC). A major goal in our laboratory is to define the cellular targets by which εPKC confers protection. We tested the hypothesis that εPKC targets the mitochondrial KATP+ channel ( mtKATP+) after IPC. Our results demonstrated a rapid translocation of εPKC to rat hippocampal mitochondria after IPC. Because in other tissues εPKC targets mtKATP+ channels, but its presence in brain mitochondria is controversial, we determined the presence of the KATP+ channel-specific subunits (Kir6.1 and Kir6.2) in mitochondria isolated from rat hippocampus. Next, we determined whether mtKATP+ channels play a role in the IPC induction. In hippocampal organotypic slice cultures, IPC and lethal ischemia were induced by oxygen-glucose deprivation. Subsequent cell death in the CA1 region was quantified using propidium iodide staining. Treatment with the KATP+ channel openers diazoxide or pinacidil 48 h prior to lethal ischemia protected hippocampal CA1 neurons, mimicking the induction of neuroprotection conferred by either IPC or εPKC agonist-induced preconditioning. Blockade of mtKATP+ channels using 5-hydroxydecanoic acid abolished the neuroprotection due to either IPC or εPKC preconditioning. Both ischemic andεPKC agonist-mediated preconditioning resulted in phosphorylation of the mtKATP+ channel subunit Kir6.2. After IPC, selective inhibition of εPKC activation prevented Kir6.2 phosphorylation, consistent with Kir6.2 as a phosphorylation target of εPKC or its downstream effectors. Our results support the hypothesis that the brain mtKATP+ channel is an important target of IPC and the signal transduction pathways initiated by εPKC.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2007.09.073
PMCID: PMC2577914  PMID: 17988655
ischemic tolerance; diazoxide; protein kinase C; organotypic slice culture; cell death; signal transduction
7.  GABA synapses mediate neuroprotection after ischemic and εPKC preconditioning in rat hippocampal slice cultures 
Delayed neuroprotection against ischemic challenges is conferred by both ischemic preconditioning (IPC) and preconditioning by activation of the ε-isoform of protein kinase C (εPKC-PC). In vivo, ischemic preconditioning enhances GABA release and ameliorates glutamate release during lethal cerebral ischemia. We tested the hypothesis that IPC and εPKC-PC confer neuroprotection by GABA synapses in rat organotypic hippocampal slices. Ischemic preconditioning or εPKC-PC was induced with 15 mins oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) or ψεRACK, a selective εPKC activator; and test ischemia consisted of 40 mins OGD. At the time of peak neuroprotection (48 h after preconditioning), we recorded GABAA receptor-mediated miniature postsynaptic currents (GABA mPSCs) in vulnerable CA1 pyramidal neurons using whole-cell voltage clamp techniques. The frequency and amplitude of GABA mPSCs significantly increased 48 h after IPC. In contrast, εPKC-PC enhanced only the amplitude of GABA mPSCs with no effect on frequency. We next asked if neuroprotection depended on these changes in GABA synapses. Weak antagonism of the GABAA receptor with bicuculline (100 nmol/L) decreased the amplitude of GABA mPSCs by 20.9 ± 6.1%. When applied during test ischemia, 100 nmol/L bicuculline abolished neuroprotection conferred by either IPC or εPKC-PC. We conclude that neuroprotection conferred by preconditioning depends on functional modifications of GABA synapses.
doi:10.1038/jcbfm.2008.126
PMCID: PMC2696173  PMID: 18957990
εPKC; inhibition; ischemia; ischemic tolerance; organotypic slice
8.  Impaired perfusion after myocardial infarction is due to reperfusion-induced δPKC-mediated myocardial damage 
Cardiovascular research  2006;73(4):699-709.
Objective
To improve myocardial flow during reperfusion after acute myocardial infarction and to elucidate the molecular and cellular basis that impedes it. According to the AHA/ACC recommendation, an ideal reperfusion treatment in patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) should not only focus on restoring flow in the occluded artery, but should aim to reduce microvascular damage to improve blood flow in the infarcted myocardium.
Methods
Transgenic mouse hearts expressing the δPKC (protein kinase C) inhibitor, δV1-1, in their myocytes only were treated with or without the δPKC inhibitor after ischemia in an ex vivo AMI model. δV1-1 or vehicle was also delivered at reperfusion in an in vivo porcine model of AMI. Microvascular dysfunction was assessed by physiological and histological measurements.
Results
δPKC inhibition in the endothelial cells improved myocardial perfusion in the transgenic mice. In the porcine in vivo AMI model, coronary flow reserve (CFR), which is impaired for 6 days following infarction, was improved immediately following a one-minute treatment at the end of the ischemic period with the δPKC-selective inhibitor, δV1-1 (∼250 ng/Kg), and was completely corrected by 24 hrs. Myocardial contrast echocardiography, electron microscopy studies, and TUNEL staining demonstrated δPKC-mediated microvascular damage. δPKC-induced preconditioning, which also reduces infarct size by >60%, did not improve microvascular function.
Conclusions
These data suggest that δPKC activation in the microvasculature impairs blood flow in the infarcted tissue after restoring flow in the occluded artery and that AMI patients with no-reflow may therefore benefit from treatment with a δPKC inhibitor given in conjunction with removal of the coronary occlusion.
doi:10.1016/j.cardiores.2006.12.011
PMCID: PMC2180159  PMID: 17234167
9.  Activation of εPKC Reduces Reperfusion Arrhythmias and Improves Recovery from Ischemia: Optical Mapping of Activation Patterns in the Isolated Guinea-pig Heart 
Introduction
Pervious biochemical and hemodymanic studies have highlighted the important role of εPKC in cardioprotection during ischemic preconditioning. However, little is known about the electrophysiological consequences of εPKC modulation in ischemic hearts. Membrane permeable peptide εPKC selective activator and inhibitor were used to investigate the role of εPKC modulation in reperfusion arrhythmias.
Methods
Protein transduction domain from HIV- TAT was used as a carrier for peptide delivery into intact Langendorff perfused guinea pig hearts. Action potentials were imaged and mapped (124 sites) using optical techniques and surface ECG was continuously recorded. Hearts were exposed to 30 min stabilization period, 15 min of no-flow ischemia, followed by 20 min reperfusion. Peptides (0.5 μM) were infused as follows: a) control (vehicle-TAT peptide; TAT-scrambled ψεRACK peptide); b) εPKC agonist (TAT-ψεRACK); c) εPKC antagonist (TAT-εV1).
Results
Hearts treated with εPKC agonist ψεRACK had reduced incidence of ventricular tachycardia (VT, 64%) and fibrillation (VF, 50%) compared to control (VT, 80%, p<0.05) and (VF, 70%, P<0.05). However, the highest incidence of VT (100%, P<0.05) and VF (80%) occurred in hearts treated with εPKC antagonist peptide εV1 compared to control and to εPKC agonist ψεRACK. Interestingly, at 20 min reperfusion, 100% of hearts treated with εPKC agonist ψεRACK exhibited complete recovery of action potentials compared to 40% (p<0.05) of hearts treated with εPKC antagonist peptide, εV1 and 65% (P<0.5) of hearts in control. At 20 min reperfusion, maps of action potential duration from εPKC agonist ψεRACK showed minimal dispersion (48.2±9 ms) compared to exacerbated dispersion (115.4±42 ms, P<0.05) in εPKC antagonist and control (67±20 ms, P<0.05). VT/VF and dispersion from hearts treated with scrambled agonist or antagonist peptides were similar to control.
In conclusion
the results demonstrate that εPKC activation by ψεRACK peptide protects intact hearts from reperfusion arrhythmias and affords better recovery. On the other hand, inhibition of εPKC increased the incidence of arrhythmias and worsened recovery compared to controls. The results carry significant therapeutic implications for the treatment of acute ischemic heart disease by preconditioning-mimicking agents.
doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.08.073
PMCID: PMC3459326  PMID: 22935420
cardiac electrophysiology; Protein Kinase C; reperfusion arrhythmia; optical mapping
10.  Nociceptive-induced Myocardial Remote Conditioning Is Mediated By Neuronal Gamma Protein Kinase C 
Basic research in cardiology  2013;108(5):10.1007/s00395-013-0381-x.
Deciphering the remote conditioning molecular mechanism may provide targets to develop therapeutics that can broaden the clinical application. To further investigate this, we tested whether two protein kinase C isozymes, the ubiquitously expressed epsilon PKC (εPKC) and the neuronal specific gamma PKC (γPKC), mediate nociceptive-induced remote myocardial conditioning.
Male Sprague-Dawley rats were used for both in vivo and ex vivo myocardial ischemia-reperfusion protocols. For the in vivo studies, using a surgical abdominal incision for comparison, applying only to the abdomen either bradykinin or the εPKC activator (ψεRACK) reduced myocardial infarct size (45±1%, 44±2%, respectively, versus incision: 43±2%, and control: 63±2%, P < 0.001). Western blot showed only εPKC, and not γPKC, is highly expressed in the myocardium. However, applying a selective γPKC inhibitor (γV5-3) to the abdominal skin blocked remote protection by any of these strategies.
Using an ex vivo isolated heart model without an intact nervous system, only selective εPKC activation, unlike a selective classical PKC isozyme activator (activating α, β, βII and γ), reduced myocardial injury. Importantly, the classical PKC isozyme activator given to the abdomen in vivo (with an intact nervous system including γPKC) during myocardial ischemia reduced infarct size as effectively as an abdominal incision or ψεRACK (45±1% versus 45±2% and 47±1%, respectively). The classical PKC activator-induced protection was also blocked by spinal cord surgical transection.
These findings identified potential remote conditioning mimetics, with these strategies effective even during myocardial ischemia. A novel mechanism of nociceptive-induced remote conditioning, involving γPKC, was also identified.
doi:10.1007/s00395-013-0381-x
PMCID: PMC3856950  PMID: 23982492
infarct size; remote; incision; protein kinase C; gamma; epsilon
11.  Time-dependent and ethanol-induced cardiac protection from ischemia mediated by mitochondrial translocation of εPKC and activation of aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 
The cardioprotective effects of moderate alcohol consumption have been well documented in animal models and in humans. Protection afforded against ischemia and reperfusion injury (I/R) proceeds through an ischemic preconditioning-like mechanism involving the activation of epsilon protein kinase C (εPKC) and is dependent on the time and duration of ethanol treatment. However, the substrates of εPKC and the molecular mechanisms by which the enzyme protects the heart from oxidative damage induced by I/R are not fully described. Using an open-chest model of acute myocardial infarction in vivo, we find that intraperitoneal injection of ethanol (0.5 g/kg) 60 minutes prior to (but not 15 minutes prior to) a 30-minute transient ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery reduced I/R-mediated injury by 57% (measured as a decrease of creatine phosphokinase release into the blood). Only under cardioprotective conditions, ethanol treatment resulted in the translocation of εPKC to cardiac mitochondria, where the enzyme bound aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH2). ALDH2 is an intra-mitochondrial enzyme involved in the detoxification of toxic aldehydes such as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) and 4-HNE mediates oxidative damage, at least in part, by covalently modifying and inactivating proteins (by forming 4-HNE adducts). In hearts subjected to I/R after ethanol treatment, the levels of 4-HNE protein adducts were lower and JNK1/2 and ERK1/2 activities were diminished relative to the hearts from rats subjected to I/R in the absence of ethanol. Together, this work provides an insight into the mitochondrial-dependent basis of ethanol-induced and εPKC-mediated protection from cardiac ischemia, in vivo.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.09.713
PMCID: PMC2675554  PMID: 18983847
12.  Identification of εPKC targets during cardiac ischemic injury 
Background
Activation of ε protein kinase C (εPKC) protects hearts from ischemic injury. However, some of the mechanism(s) of εPKC mediated cardioprotection are still unclear. Identification of εPKC targets may aid to elucidate εPKC–mediated cardioprotective mechanisms. Previous studies, using a combination of εPKC transgenic mice and difference in gel electrophoresis (DIGE), identified a number of proteins involved in glucose metabolism, whose expression was modified by εPKC. These studies, were accompanied by metabolomic analysis, and suggested that increased glucose oxidation may be responsible for the cardioprotective effect of εPKC. However, whether these εPKC-mediated alterations were due to differences in protein expression or phosphorylation was not determined.
Methods and Results
Here, we used an εPKC-specific activator peptide, ψεRACK, in combination with phosphoproteomics to identify εPKC targets, and identified proteins whose phosphorylation was altered by selective activation of εPKC most of the identified proteins were mitochondrial proteins and analysis of the mitochondrial phosphoproteome, led to the identification of 55 spots, corresponding to 37 individual proteins, which were exclusively phosphorylated, in the presence of ψεRACK. The majority of the proteins identified were proteins involved in glucose and lipid metabolism, components of the respiratory chain as well as mitochondrial heat shock proteins.
Conclusion
In summary the protective effect of εPKC during ischemia involves phosphorylation of several mitochondrial proteins involved in glucose, lipid metabolism and oxidative phosphorylation. Regulation of these metabolic pathways by εPKC phosphorylation may lead to εPKC-mediated cardioprotection induced by ψεRACK.
PMCID: PMC3527096  PMID: 22453000
εPKC; ischemia; phosphorylation; mitochondria
13.  δPKC Participates in the Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress-Induced Response in Cultured Cardiac Myocytes and Ischemic Heart 
The cellular response to excessive endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress includes the activation of signaling pathways, which lead to apoptotic cell death. Here we show that treatment of cultured cardiac myocytes with tunicamycin, an agent that induces ER stress, causes the rapid translocation of δPKC to the ER. We further demonstrate that inhibition of δPKC using the δPKC-specific antagonist peptide, δV1-1, reduces tunicamycin-induced apoptotic cell death, and inhibits expression of specific ER stress response markers such as CHOP, GRP78 and phosphorylation of JNK. The physiological importance of δPKC in this event is further supported by our findings that the ER stress response is also induced in hearts subjected to ischemia and reperfusion injury and that this response also involves δPKC translocation to the ER. We found that the levels of the ER chaperone, GRP78, the spliced XBP-1 and the phosphorylation of JNK are all increased following ischemia and reperfusion and that δPKC inhibition by δV1-1 blocks these events. Therefore, ischemia-reperfusion injury induces ER stress in the myocardium in a mechanism that requires δPKC activity. Taken together, our data show for the first time that δPKC activation plays a critical role in the ER stress-mediated response and the resultant cell death.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2007.07.061
PMCID: PMC2185772  PMID: 17825316
14.  Cardiac-specific overexpression of GTP cyclohydrolase 1 restores ischaemic preconditioning during hyperglycaemia 
Cardiovascular Research  2011;91(2):340-349.
Aims
Hyperglycaemia (HG) decreases intracellular tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) concentrations, and this action may contribute to injury during myocardial ischaemia and reperfusion. We investigated whether increased BH4 by cardiomyocyte-specific overexpression of the GTP cyclohydrolase (GTPCH) 1 gene rescues myocardial and mitochondrial protection by ischaemic preconditioning (IPC) during HG through a nitric oxide (NO)-dependent pathway.
Methods and results
Mice underwent 30 min of myocardial ischaemia followed by 2 h of reperfusion with or without IPC elicited with four cycles of 5 min ischaemia/5 min of reperfusion in the presence or absence of HG produced by d-glucose. In C57BL/6 wild-type mice, IPC increased myocardial BH4 and NO concentrations and decreased myocardial infarct size (30 ± 3% of risk area) compared with control (56 ± 5%) experiments. This protective effect was inhibited by HG (48 ± 3%) but not hyperosmolarity. GTPCH-1 overexpression increased myocardial BH4 and NO concentrations and restored cardioprotection by IPC during HG (32 ± 4%). In contrast, a non-selective NO synthase inhibitor NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester attenuated the favourable effects of GTPCH-1 overexpression (52 ± 3%) during HG. Mitochondria isolated from myocardium subjected to IPC required significantly higher in vitro Ca2+ concentrations (184 ± 14 µmol mg−1 protein) to open the mitochondrial permeability transition pore when compared with mitochondria isolated from control experiments (142 ± 10 µmol mg−1 protein). This beneficial effect of IPC was reversed by HG and rescued by GTPCH-1 overexpression.
Conclusion
Increased BH4 by cardiomyocyte-specific overexpression of GTPCH-1 preserves the ability of IPC to elicit myocardial and mitochondrial protection that is impaired by HG, and this action appears to be dependent on NO.
doi:10.1093/cvr/cvr079
PMCID: PMC3125073  PMID: 21422102
GTP cyclohydrolase 1; Ischemia reperfusion; Hyperglycaemia; Mitochondria; Gene transfer
15.  The Akt signaling pathway contributes to postconditioning’s protection against stroke; the protection is associated with the MAPK and PKC pathways 
Journal of neurochemistry  2008;105(3):943-955.
We previously reported that ischemic postconditioning with a series of mechanical interruptions of reperfusion reduced infarct volume 2 days after focal ischemia in rats. Here, we extend this data by examining long-term protection and exploring underlying mechanisms involving the Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and protein kinase C (PKC) signaling pathways. Post-conditioning reduced infarct and improved behavioral function assessed 30 days after stroke. Additionally, postconditioning increased levels of phosphorylated Akt (Ser473) as measured by western blot and Akt activity as measured by an in vitro kinase assay. Inhibiting Akt activity by a phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002, enlarged infarct in postconditioned rats. Postconditioning did not affect protein levels of phosphorylated-phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 or -phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (molecules upstream of Akt) but did inhibit an increase in phosphorylated-glycogen synthase kinase 3β, an Akt effector. In addition, postconditioning blocked β-catenin phosphorylation subsequent to glycogen synthase kinase, but had no effect on total or non-phosphorylated active β-catenin protein levels. Furthermore, postconditioning inhibited increases in the amount of phosphorylated-c-Jun N-terminal kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 in the MAPK pathway. Finally, postconditioning blocked death-promoting δPKC cleavage and attenuated reduction in phosphorylation of survival-promoting εPKC. In conclusion, our data suggest that postconditioning provides long-term protection against stroke in rats. Additionally, we found that Akt activity contributes to postconditioning’s protection; furthermore, increases in εPKC activity, a survival-promoting pathway, and reductions in MAPK and δPKC activity; two putative death-promoting pathways correlate with postconditioning’s protection.
doi:10.1111/j.1471-4159.2008.05218.x
PMCID: PMC2746404  PMID: 18182053
Akt; cerebral ischemia; mitogen-activated protein kinase; postconditioning; protein kinase C; β-catenin
16.  Mechanism of Cardioprotection by Early Ischemic Preconditioning 
A series of brief ischemia/reperfusion cycles (termed ischemic preconditioning, IPC) limits myocardial injury produced by a subsequent prolonged period of coronary artery occlusion and reperfusion. Over the last 2 decades our understanding of IPC’s mechanism has increased exponentially. Hearts exposed to IPC have a better metabolic and ionic status during prolonged ischemia compared to naïve hearts. However, this difference is not thought to be the main mechanism by which IPC protects against infarction. Signaling pathways that are activated by IPC distinguish IPC hearts from naïve hearts. During the trigger phase of IPC, adenosine, bradykinin and opioid receptors are occupied. Although these three receptors trigger signaling through divergent pathways, the signaling converges on protein kinase C. We have proposed that at the end of the index ischemia the activated PKC sensitizes the low-affinity A2b adenosine receptor (A2bAR) through phosphorylation of either the receptor or its coupling proteins so that A2bAR can be activated by endogenous adenosine released by the previously ischemic cardiomyocytes. The sensitized A2bAR would then be responsible for activation of the survival kinases including PI3 kinase, Akt and ERK which then act to inhibit lethal mitochondrial permeability transition pore formation which normally uncouples mitochondria and destroys many myocytes in the first minutes of reperfusion. Herein we review the evidence for the above mechanisms and their functional details.
doi:10.1007/s10557-010-6236-x
PMCID: PMC2932886  PMID: 20505987
A2b adenosine receptor; G protein-coupled receptor; Ischemic preconditioning; Mitochondrial permeability transition pore; PKC; Myocardial infarction; Signal transduction; Cardioprotection
17.  Subtype-Specific Translocation of the δ Subtype of Protein Kinase C and Its Activation by Tyrosine Phosphorylation Induced by Ceramide in HeLa Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(5):1769-1783.
We investigated the functional roles of ceramide, an intracellular lipid mediator, in cell signaling pathways by monitoring the intracellular movement of protein kinase C (PKC) subtypes fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) in HeLa living cells. C2-ceramide but not C2-dihydroceramide induced translocation of δPKC-GFP to the Golgi complex, while αPKC- and ζPKC-GFP did not respond to ceramide. The Golgi-associated δPKC-GFP induced by ceramide was further translocated to the plasma membrane by phorbol ester treatment. Ceramide itself accumulated to the Golgi complex where δPKC was translocated by ceramide. Gamma interferon also induced the δPKC-specific translocation from the cytoplasm to the Golgi complex via the activation of Janus kinase and Mg2+-dependent neutral sphingomyelinase. Photobleaching studies showed that ceramide does not evoke tight binding of δPKC-GFP to the Golgi complex but induces the continuous association and dissociation of δPKC with the Golgi complex. Ceramide inhibited the kinase activity of δPKC-GFP in the presence of phosphatidylserine and diolein in vitro, while the kinase activity of δPKC-GFP immunoprecipitated from ceramide-treated cells was increased. The immunoprecipitated δPKC-GFP was tyrosine phosphorylated after ceramide treatment. Tyrosine kinase inhibitor abolished the ceramide-induced activation and tyrosine phosphorylation of δPKC-GFP. These results suggested that gamma interferon stimulation followed by ceramide generation through Mg2+-dependent sphingomyelinase induced δPKC-specific translocation to the Golgi complex and that translocation results in δPKC activation through tyrosine phosphorylation of the enzyme.
doi:10.1128/MCB.21.5.1769-1783.2001
PMCID: PMC86731  PMID: 11238914
18.  Ischemic Preconditioning Mediates Cyclooxygenase-2 Expression Via Nuclear Factor-Kappa B Activation in Mixed Cortical Neuronal Cultures 
Translational stroke research  2010;1(1):40-47.
Nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB) activation occurs following ischemic preconditioning (IPC) in brain. However, the upstream signaling messengers and down-stream targets of NF-κB required for induction of IPC remain undefined. In a previous study, we demonstrated that epsilon protein kinase c (εPKC) was a key mediator of IPC in brain. Activation of εPKC induced cyclooygenase-2 (COX-2) expression and conferred ischemic tolerance in the neuronal and hippocampal slice models. Here, we hypothesized that IPC-mediated COX-2 expression was mediated by NF-κB. We tested this hypothesis in mixed cortical neuron/astrocyte cell cultures. To simulate IPC or ischemia, cell cultures were exposed to 1 or 4 h of oxygen–glucose deprivation, respectively. Our results demonstrated translocation of p65 and p50 subunits of NF-κB into nucleus following IPC or εPKC activation. NF-κB inhibition with pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (10 μM) abolished IPC or εPKC activator-mediated neuroprotection indicating that NF-κB activation was involved in ischemic tolerance. In parallel studies, inhibition of either εPKC or the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK 1/2) pathway reduced IPC-induced NF-κB activation. Finally, inhibition of NF-κB blocked IPC-induced COX-2 expression. In conclusion, we demonstrated that IPC-signaling cascade comprises εPKC activation→ERK1/2 activation→NF-κB translocation to nucleus→COX-2 expression resulting in neuroprotection in mixed neuronal culture.
PMCID: PMC2893355  PMID: 20606709
Cerebral ischemia; Ischemic tolerance; Epsilon protein kinase C; Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK1/2); Neuroprotection; Mixed cortical neuron/astrocyte cell cultures
19.  Transcriptional responses in the adaptation to ischaemia-reperfusion injury: a study of the effect of ischaemic preconditioning in total knee arthroplasty patients 
Background
Ischaemic preconditioning (IPC) has emerged as a method of reducing ischaemia-reperfusion injury. However, the complex mechanism through which IPC elicits this protection is not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate the genomic response induced by IPC in muscle biopsies taken from the operative leg of total knee arthroplasty patients in order to gain insight into the IPC mechanism.
Methods
Twenty patients, undergoing primary total knee arthroplasty, were randomly assigned to IPC (n = 10) and control (n = 10) groups. Patients in the IPC group received ischaemic preconditioning immediately prior to surgery. IPC was induced by three five-minute cycles of tourniquet insufflation interrupted by five-minute cycles of reperfusion. A muscle biopsy was taken from the operative knee of control and IPC-treated patients at the onset of surgery and, again, at one hour into surgery. The gene expression profile of muscle biopsies was determined using the Affymetrix Human U113 2.0 microarray system and validated using real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Measurements of C-reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation (ESR), white cell count (WCC), cytokines and haemoglobin were also made pre- and post-operatively.
Results
Microarray analysis revealed a significant increase in the expression of important oxidative stress defence genes, immediate early response genes and mitochondrial genes. Upregulation of pro-survival genes was also observed and correlated with a downregulation of pro-apoptotic gene expression. CRP, ESR, WCC, cytokine and haemoglobin levels were not significantly different between control and IPC patients.
Conclusions
The findings of this study suggest that IPC of the lower limb in total knee arthroplasty patients induces a protective genomic response, which results in increased expression of immediate early response genes, oxidative stress defence genes and pro-survival genes. These findings indicate that ischaemic preconditioning may be of potential benefit in knee arthroplasty and other musculoskeletal conditions.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-8-46
PMCID: PMC2876069  PMID: 20459731
20.  Activating δPKC antagonizes the protective effect of ERK1/2 inhibition against stroke in rats 
Brain research  2008;1251:256-261.
Two pathways that have been shown to mediate cerebral ischemic damage are the MEK/ERK cascade and the pro-apoptotic δPKC pathway. We investigated the relationship between these pathways in a rat model of focal ischemia by observing and modifying the activation state of each pathway. The ERK1/2 inhibitor, U0126, injected at ischemia onset, attenuated the increase in phosphorylated ERK1/2 (P-ERK1/2) after reperfusion. The δPKC inhibitor, δV1-1, delivered at reperfusion, did not significantly change P-ERK1/2 levels. In contrast, the δPKC activator, ψδRACK, injected at reperfusion, reduced ERK1/2 phosphorylation measured 4 h after reperfusion. Additionally, U0126 pretreatment at ischemia onset reduced infarct size compared with vehicle, but U0126 injected at the onset of reperfusion had no protection. Finally, combination of U0126 injection at ischemia onset plus δV1-1 injection at reperfusion further reduced infarct size, while combination of U0126 delivered at ischemia onset with ψδRACK injected at reperfusion increased infarct size compared with U0126 alone. In conclusion, we find that inhibiting both the MEK/ERK and the δPKC pathways offers greater protection than either alone, indicating they likely act independently.
doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2008.11.051
PMCID: PMC2746701  PMID: 19063870
Cerebral ischemia; MEK/ERK cascade; δPKC; ERK1/2
21.  Protein Kinase C Protects Preconditioned Rabbit Hearts by Increasing Sensitivity of Adenosine A2b-Dependent Signaling During Early Reperfusion 
Although protein kinase C (PKC) plays a key role in ischemic preconditioning (IPC), the actual mechanism of that protection is unknown. We recently found that protection from IPC requires activation of adenosine receptors during early reperfusion. We, therefore, hypothesized PKC might act to increase the heart’s sensitivity to adenosine. IPC limited infarct size in isolated rabbit hearts subjected to 30-min regional ischemia/2-h reperfusion and IPC’s protection was blocked by the PKC inhibitor chelerythrine given during early reperfusion revealing involvement of PKC at reperfusion. Similarly chelerythrine infused in the early reperfusion period blocked the increased phosphorylation of the protective kinases Akt and ERK1/2 observed after IPC. Infusing phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), a PKC activator, during early reperfusion mimicked IPC’s protection. As expected, the protection triggered by PMA at reperfusion was blocked by chelerythrine, but surprisingly it was also blocked by MRS1754, an adenosine A2b receptor–selective antagonist, suggesting that PKC was somehow facilitating signaling from the A2b receptors. NECA [5′-(N-ethylcarboxamido) adenosine], a potent but not selective A2b receptor agonist, increased phosphorylation of Akt and ERK1/2 in a dose-dependent manner. Pretreating hearts with PMA or brief preconditioning ischemia had no effect on phosphorylation of Akt or ERK1/2 per se, but markedly lowered the threshold for NECA to induce their phosphorylation. BAY 60-6583, a highly selective A2b agonist, also caused phosphorylation of ERK 1/2 and Akt. MRS1754 prevented phosphorylation induced by BAY 60-6583. BAY 60-6583 limited infarct size when given to ischemic hearts at reperfusion. These results suggest that activation of cardiac A2b receptors at reperfusion is protective, but because of the very low affinity of the receptors endogenous cardiac adenosine is unable to trigger their signaling. We propose that the key protective event in IPC occurs when PKC increases the heart’s sensitivity to adenosine so that endogenous adenosine can activate A2b-dependent signaling.
doi:10.1016/j.yjmcc.2007.05.016
PMCID: PMC2729547  PMID: 17632123
adenosine A2b receptors; BAY 60-6583; NECA; preconditioning; protein kinase C
22.  Lysine deacetylation in ischaemic preconditioning: the role of SIRT1 
Cardiovascular Research  2010;89(3):643-649.
Aims
Acute ischaemic preconditioning (IPC) induces protection against cardiac ischaemia–reperfusion (IR) via post-translational modification of key proteins. Lysine (Lys) acetylation is an important regulator of protein function, but this type of modification has not been studied in the context of IPC. We investigated Lys acetylation in IPC and its upstream regulation by SIRT1.
Methods and results
Hearts from C57BL/6 mice were Langendorff-perfused and subjected to IPC and IR injury. Mice were exposed to IPC by in vivo coronary artery occlusion. An isolated cardiomyocyte model of IPC was also developed. Lys acetylation was measured by western blotting, and pharmacological modulators of Lys acetylation were tested. More Lys deacetylation was observed in IPC, in the Langendorff, in vivo, and cellular IPC models; this was concurrent with an increase in SIRT1 activity measured by p53 Lys379 deacetylation. IPC was not accompanied by changes in SIRT1 protein level, but evidence was obtained for SIRT1 modification by Small Ubiquitin-like Modifier (SUMOylation) in IPC. Furthermore, the specific SIRT1 inhibitor splitomicin reversed both IPC-mediated Lys deacetylation and IPC-induced cardioprotection. Inhibition of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt, an important enzyme which regulates SIRT1 activity by maintaining availability of the substrate NAD+) also blocked both IPC-induced deacetylation and cardioprotection.
Conclusion
Lys deacetylation occurs during IPC and an elevation in SIRT1 activity plays a role in this phenomenon. Inhibition of SIRT1, either directly or by restricting the availability of its substrate NAD+, inhibits IPC. Together these data suggest a role for SIRT1-mediated Lys deacetylation in the mechanism of acute IPC.
doi:10.1093/cvr/cvq287
PMCID: PMC3028968  PMID: 20823277
Lysine acetylation; Ischaemia; Sirtuins; Preconditioning; SUMO
23.  Early ischaemic preconditioning requires Akt- and PKA-mediated activation of eNOS via serine1176 phosphorylation 
Cardiovascular Research  2012;97(1):33-43.
Aims
The role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS)/NO signalling is well documented in late ischaemic preconditioning (IPC); however, the role of eNOS and its activation in early IPC remains controversial. This study investigates the role of eNOS in early IPC and the signalling pathways and molecular interactions that regulate eNOS activation during early IPC.
Methods and results
Rat hearts were subjected to 30-min global ischaemia and reperfusion (I/R) with or without IPC (three cycles 5-min I and 5-min R) in the presence or absence of the NOS inhibitor l-NAME, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002 (LY), and protein kinase A (PKA) inhibitor H89 during IPC induction or prior endothelial permeablization. IPC improved post-ischaemic contractile function and reduced infarction compared with I/R with this being abrogated by l-NAME or endothelial permeablization. eNOSSer1176, AktSer473, and PKAThr197 phosphorylation was increased following IPC. I/R decreased eNOSSer1176 phosphorylation, whereas IPC increased it. Mass spectroscopy confirmed eNOSSer1176 phosphorylation and quantitative Western blots showed ∼24% modification of eNOSSer1176 following IPC. Immunoprecipitation demonstrated eNOS, Akt, and PKA complexation. Immunohistology showed IPC-induced Akt and PKA phosphorylation in cardiomyocytes and endothelium. With eNOS activation, IPC increased NO production as measured by electron paramagnetic resonance spin trapping and fluorescence microscopy. LY or H89 not only decreased AktSer473 or PKAThr197 phosphorylation, respectively, but also abolished IPC-induced preservation of eNOS and eNOSSer1176 phosphorylation as well as cardioprotection.
Conclusion
Thus, Akt- and PKA-mediated eNOS activation, with phosphorylation near the C-terminus, is critical for early IPC-induced cardioprotection, with eNOS-derived NO from the endothelium serving a critical role.
doi:10.1093/cvr/cvs287
PMCID: PMC3527763  PMID: 22977010
Protein phosphorylation; Signalling pathways; Reactive oxygen species; Endothelial nitric oxide synthase structure
24.  Ischemic Preconditioning VIA Epsilon PKC Activation Requires Cyclooxygenase-2 Activation in Vitro 
Neuroscience  2007;145(3):931-941.
The signaling pathway of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) induction following ischemic preconditioning (IPC) in brain remains undefined. To determine role of COX-2 in ischemic preconditioning, we used two in vitro models: mixed cortical neuron/astrocyte cell cultures and organotypic hippocampal slice cultures. We simulated IPC by exposing cell or slice cultures to 1 h or 15 min of oxygen/glucose deprivation (OGD), respectively, 48 h prior to ischemia. To mimic ischemia in vitro, we exposed cell or slice cultures to OGD of 4 h or 45 min, respectively. In cell cultures, these experiments revealed that COX-2 induction peaked at 24 h following IPC in cell culture. Inhibition of COX-2 activation with 50 μM NS-398 (a COX-2 selective inhibitor) abolished IPC-mediated neuroprotection in both in vitro models. Next, we tested whether εPKC and ERK1/2 activation were involved in IPC-mediated neuroprotection and COX-2 expression in cell culture. Cell cultures were treated with an εPKC-specific activating peptide (ψεRACK, 100 nM) for 1 h, and 48 h later were exposed to OGD. εPKC activation increased ERK1/2 phosphorylation and COX-2 induction and conferred neuroprotection similar to IPC. Additionally, inhibition of either εPKC or ERK1/2 activation abolished COX-2 expression and neuroprotection due to ischemic preconditioning. These results demonstrate a crucial role for the εPKC → ERK1/2 → COX-2 pathway in the induction of neuroprotection via ischemic preconditioning.
doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.12.063
PMCID: PMC2153455  PMID: 17307294
Neuroprotection; ERK1/2; mixed cortical neuron/astrocyte cell cultures; organotypic hippocampal slice cultures; ischemia; oxygen/glucose deprivation
25.  Dopamine and Ethanol Cause Translocation of εPKC Associated with εRACK: Cross-talk Between PKA and PKC Signaling Pathways 
Molecular pharmacology  2008;73(4):1105-1112.
Previously we found that neural responses to ethanol and the dopamine D2 receptor (D2) agonist NPA involve both epsilon protein kinase C (εPKC) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase A (PKA). However, little is known about the mechanism underlying ethanol- and D2-mediated activation of εPKC and the relationship to PKA activation. In the present study, we used a new εPKC antibody, 14E6, that selectively recognizes active εPKC when not bound to its anchoring protein εRACK (receptor for activated C-kinase), and PKC isozyme-selective inhibitors and activators, to measure PKC translocation and catalytic activity. We show here that ethanol and NPA activated εPKC and also induced translocation of both εPKC and its anchoring protein, εRACK to a new cytosolic site. The selective εPKC agonist, pseudo-εRACK, activated εPKC but did not cause translocation of the εPKC/εRACK complex to the cytosol. These data suggest a step-wise activation and translocation of εPKC following NPA or ethanol treatment where εPKC first translocates and binds to its RACK and subsequently the εPKC/εRACK complex translocates to a new subcellular site. Direct activation of PKA by Sp-cAMPS, PGE1 or the adenosine A2A receptor is sufficient to cause εPKC translocation to the cytosolic compartment in a process that is dependent on PLC activation and requires PKA activity. These data demonstrate a novel cross-talk mechanism between εPKC and PKA signaling systems. PKA and PKC signaling have been implicated in alcohol rewarding properties in the mesolimbic dopamine system. Cross-talk between PKA and PKC may underlie some of the behaviors associated with alcoholism.
doi:10.1124/mol.107.042580
PMCID: PMC2692587  PMID: 18202306

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